BOULDER COUNTYâ€™S FOOD MAGAZINE I FREE I 2019-20
WINE IN THE MOUNTAINS
DOES BOULDER COUNTY HAVE A SIGNATURE DISH? LOCAL CHEFS AND FOODIES WEIGH IN
TWO CENTURIES OF LOCAL RECIPES
FORAGING IN THE FOOTHILLS FOR STRAWBERRIES, MUSHROOMS AND MORE
HONEY ON THE ROOFTOP
HOW LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS BECAME THE PIONEERS OF THE NATURAL FOOD MOVEMENT
7 Tastemaker spotlight
29 The way we cooked
Snapshots of life in the Boulder County food scene
11 Colorado in a can
Odd13’s Colorado Kid is the quintessential local beer.
12 Wild and free
Foragaing for mushrooms and meaning in the Colorado mountains
16 A vintage life
Gussie Walter takes a one-woman, anti-snob approach to making wine
C O N T E N T S
20 Fertile grounds
How Boulder County became the epicenter of the natural food revolution
Does Boulder County have a signature dish?
Old recipes prove Boulder County pioneers had pretty sophisticated palates
30 A flurry of curry
How Nepalese cuisine quietly took hold at Dot’s Diner
33 Restaurant directory
The best foods, restaurants, bars, cocktails and more, according to our readers.
Chefs, restaurateurs and foodies weigh in
Rüdiger Schmidt runs Cliffhouse Kombucha in Jamestown, a family-run operation named for the well-recognized cliffhouse Rüdiger built for his son, Julien. Cliffhouse Kombucha is distributed throughout the county and at the Jamestown Merc. 3
SI M P L E
578 Briggs Street Erie, CO 80516 303.828.1392 www.24carrotbistro.com
L O C A L
S AT & SU N 9 AM - 2 PM
FA R M
L U N C H TUE-FRI 11AM-3PM
TA B L E
F R I & S AT 5PM-10PM
S U N D AY 5PM-9PM
Saturday, October 5th at Coal Creek Park (575 Kattell St. Erie CO) 12:00-4:00pm A great event for the entire family. Children 3 and older ($10); under 3 and Adults are free! Tickets will be sold at the entrance. Activities include Touch -a-Truck, hayrides, pedal cars, haunted house, maze, crafts and more. Enter the Chili Cook-Off Contest. Spaces are limited. Call now for more information (303.828.3440).
Upcoming Fall & Winter Events For more information:
Sponsored by Erie Chamber of Commerce Treat yourself to an early Christmas Gift! Call now (303-828.3440) and sign up for the best golf tournament ever at the new Top Golf Facility to be held in November! Proceeds benefit the Erie Chamber’s Dave Stone Scholarship.
Country Christmas and Parade of Lights Friday, December 6th at Historic Downtown Erie 5:00-8:00pm
Come out and enjoy Santa’s Workshop, local school choirs, complimentary s’mores, living nativity scene, free hayrides, parade of lights followed by Santa and more!
Publisher, Fran Zankowski Feast Editor, Matt Cortina Circulation Manager, Cal Winn
Editor, Joel Dyer Associate Editors, Angela K. Evans, Caitlin Rockett, Michael J. Casey
Retail Sales Manager, Allen Carmichael Account Executives, Julian Bourke, Mathew Fischer Market Development Manager, Kellie Robinson Mrs. Boulder Weekly, Mari Nevar
SALES AND MARKETING
Art Director, Susan France Senior Graphic Designer, Mark Goodman Graphic Designer, Daisy Bauer
ON THE COVER: Photo: Susan France Paella at Cafe Aion
Founder/CEO, Stewart Sallo
GENERAL & ADMINISTRATIVE
Circulation Team, Dave Hastie, Dan Hill, George LaRoe, Jeffrey Lohrius, Elizabeth Ouslie, Rick Slama
Food for thought
Eric Skokan inspecting crops on his Longmont farm.
n compiling this year’s edition of Feast, we asked ourselves one simple question: What makes Boulder County cuisine unique? To answer that question, we went into the foothills and found people making kombucha and wine from local ingredients. We looked deep into local menus and cookbooks from the last 150 years to pull out dishes and recipes that have origins here. We took a survey of the natural food brands that launched in Boulder County, and we followed along with people as they foraged for wild mushrooms, strawberries and more on Boulder County open space. But, to be sure we’d circle in on something approximating an answer to our question, we also asked chefs, restaurateurs and food-makers of all varieties what they think is Boulder County’s signature dish. Of course, no one dish, style of cuisine or particular ingredient is enough to wholly encompass the varied and evolving food scene of Boulder County. But we think through the stories in Feast, you’ll get a better sense for what the food and drink from our region of the world says about our community’s values. At the very least, we hope it makes you hungry enough to go out and explore all that Boulder County has to offer. Feast is a special issue of Boulder Weekly, which is available every Thursday throughout the county.
303.494.5511 690 S. Lashley Lane, Boulder, CO 80305 5
Thank You for Voting us
Best Asian Fusion Restaurant!
DINE IN • TAKE OUT 2016
1085 South Public Road • Lafayette, CO • 303-665-0666
Hours: Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Sunday 11am-9pm • Friday & Saturday 11am-9:30pm • Closed Monday
Cheese Importers Warehouse & Bistrot des Artistes You love Us for Brunch & Lunch....now try us for Dinner Live Jazz Friday & Saturday only Enjoy our Delicious & Beautiful Cheese Trays for your Celebration
103 Main St, Longmont, CO | (303) 772-9599 | www.cheeseimporters.com 6
Picture Perfect Mushrooms
’ve heard people say foragers are similar to people who go fishing. They reel in a big fish and there’s that excitement of catching something. If you’re walking through the woods and you suddenly spot a big, beautiful porcini, you feel like you won the lottery,” says Nederland-based forager and photographer Carol Helwig. She takes her children through their sprawling backyard to look for mushrooms, which tend to bloom as quickly as they disappear. “One day there’s nothing and then suddenly there’s this beautiful mushroom the next and then it’s gone,” she says. “I love the ephemeral nature and impermanence of them.” 7
Honey on the roof SUSAN FRANCE
he BeeChicas — Tracy Bellehumeur, Cynthia Scott, Deborah Foy and Theresa Beck — are a group of local beekeepers who tend to a colony of bees on top of the main branch of the Boulder Public Library. The honey harvested from the bees is shared with members of the community and the hives themselves are part of an education outreach program. Foy says the BeeChicas proposed a partnership with the library and City after Boulder passed an ordinance limiting the use neonicotinoid pesticides that harm native and honey bees. “The City wanted help to educate the public, do some community outreach and help people understand how they could participate in that process,” Foy says. Now the BeeChicas tend to the hives, which can each contain up to 60,000 bees, and they hold workshops throughout the year. Foy says the best way people can support bees in their community is to limit the use of pesticides and grow native plants in their gardens. And letting those dandelions bloom helps our local bees, too.
Feher Ozon Peppers
hese Hungarian Feher Ozon peppers grow exceptionally well in Boulder County, as evidenced by this year’s crop at Black Cat farm off Oxford Road in Longmont. The peppers start yellow, but turn deep red and are often used for paprika, which is how Black Cat chef/owner/farmer Eric Skokan will use them. “We’ll have all these dried,” Skokan says, looking over a row of peppers, “and mill them down. It should be explosively delicious… like crazy, crazy delicious.” Skokan says thick-walled peppers like the Ozon are exceptionally good for drying because there is still enough material to work with after they shrink in the dehydration process. In their raw form, the peppers smell spicy, like jalapeños, but taste mild and almost sweet.
SUSAN FRANCE 9
FRESHEST NEW YORK STYLE
We deliver in Boulder
15% OFF Pizza Pick Up Order www.BrooklynPizzaBoulder.com
Now Delivering Exclusively Through Hungry Buffs
Exceptional ingredients. Inspired preparation. Intimate atmosphere.
Voted Best Fine Dining Private and semi-private party options available.
Dinner Tuesday through Saturday 4:00pm - 9:30pm Happy Hour Tuesday through Saturday 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Reservations 303-651-3330 • 101 Pratt Street, Longmont • www.sugarbeetrestaurant.com
TURN UP THE FLAVOR! Colorado Green Chili Sauce & Salsa TM
LOCALLY SOURCED & HAND CRAFTED!
Vegan & Gluten Free
Colorado in a Can by Michael J. Casey MICHAEL J. CASEY
East Coast IPA, these turbid ales might be the fourth. Odd13 specializes in hazies, and The Colorado Kid is no exception. They use an East Coast IPA strain developed by Inland Island Yeast, located in Denver, which produces a malty flavor while highlighting the hops and leaving a touch of sweetness.
ith nearly 50 operating breweries in Boulder County, beer is as ubiquitous as French fries. Even better, these beers are as diverse as the brewers who make and drink them. From old-world execution and historically recreated ancient ales to the latest souring techniques and biotransformation of hop compounds, Boulder County brewers are like jazz musicians with a twinkle of Willy Wonka. And, as beer palates continue to expand, some brewers are trying to bring a sense of regional identity to their beer. Case in point: Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette and its Colorado Kid, a locally sourced hazy IPA that is only available in Colorado markets.
Malt It all starts with malt, and for The Colorado Kid, Odd13 turned to Troubadour Malting in Fort Collins. “We contract directly with local independent farms in both Larimer and Weld [counties] to grow our specific barley variety,” Troubadour Malting’s cofounder Christopher Schooley explains. For The Colorado Kid, Troubadour supplies Limagrain Cereal Seeds Genie 2-row barley and Antero White Winter Wheat, the latter bred at the Colorado State University Wheat Quality Lab. “Because of the open dialogue throughout the supply chain, and the unique malts used in its brewing,” Schooley says, “Colorado Kid is a truly special beer that couldn’t exist anywhere else on the planet.”
Hops Malt is the soul of beer and hops are the spice. And Odd13 is known
Water Yes, we’ve all heard that there’s nothing as pure as fresh Rocky Mountain water. But in truth, every brewer adjusts the water chemistry somewhat. Nicole Reiman, Odd13’s head brewer, uses calcium chloride in Colorado Kid to give it a fuller mouthfeel. for hops — hops from everywhere and anywhere. It’s no surprise the lone, non-native ingredient in Colorado Kid would be Galaxy, a proprietary hop strain from Australia that contributes pungent tropical and stone fruit aromas. But The Colorado Kid also uses Cascade sourced from Billy Goat Hop Farm in Montrose — the iconic U.S.-bred hop that contributes notes of pine needles and grapefruit. It’s the hop Anchor Brewing used in Liberty Ale, the first American IPA. And it’s the hop Sierra Nevada used to finish their iconic Pale Ale. If American craft brewing has a flavor, Cascade is it.
Yeast Until recently, the U.S. could only claim to have invented three unique beer styles: California common, cream ale and light lager. But with the recent explosion of hazy/juicy IPA, also known as New England-style IPA or
How’s it taste? Outstanding. With a properly pale hazy appearance, The Colorado Kid displays sticky lacing on the glass and fresh fruit on the nose. The mouth is full — bacon double cheeseburger full — and features loads of stone fruit: peach, nectarine and apricot. The finish is fast, clean and refreshing, and at 7.2% alcohol by volume, you’ll want to drink it faster than you should. But take a moment to savor the brew — Odd13 worked hard to get as much Colorado in the glass as possible, and the results show. Craft beer has always been about local, but with a brew like The Colorado Kid, local is a tasteable asset. The Colorado Kid will be available on tap and in cans exclusively in Colorado in October. Starting in 2020, The Colorado Kid will be one of Odd13’s year-round beers. 11
wild&free Foraging for mushrooms and meaning in the Colorado mountains
by kate jonuska
KYLE MENDENHALL (right) is one of many foragers and chefs that search for naturally grown mushrooms, berries, plants and more in Boulder County.
ammy Mencher and Matt Solano have the road into the mountains mostly to themselves on the cherished weekday mornings in July and August when they get away to forage — trips they look forward to all year. Still groggy from their day jobs as chefs in busy kitchens, Mencher and Solano fuel up with coffee on the short drive to one of many possible foraging locations in Boulder and Gilpin counties. The site changes based on the day’s conditions and what they’re trying to find, which is the foragers’ polite way of saying it’s impolite to ask about favorite spots, just as avid anglers answer with a wink when you ask where the fish are biting. Sometimes with their son in tow, the couple seeks areas based on altitude, which on this trip meant hiking up to 11,000 and 12,000 feet in elevation hunting for porcini mushrooms — as well as something more spiritual. “A lot of people go up hiking and it’s for recreation or to get healthy or get the kids to run out some energy,” says Mencher, the assistant dual restaurant manager for the Hilton hotels on Canyon Boulevard.
“They’re seeing what’s at a far distance. They’re seeing the pretty clouds. They’re seeing the giant trees and the stones. They’re not looking at the finer details.” Foragers, on the other hand, usually enjoy looking down and going deep, thereby witnessing a (often delicious) microworld that most of us fail to notice. “At the trailhead, we discovered some strawberry plants along the side of the road that literally everybody is passing up,” says Solano, a kitchen manager at Mojo Taqueria in Lyons. “As soon as we knelt down and started picking them, a couple people got interested in what we were doing, and it [became] a moment to educate someone. We had already eaten quite a bit of our
WILD BERRIES and porcini mushrooms are particularly prized forage finds.
fill, so we handed them on over.” Strawberries bought at the grocery store, he says, have no flavor in comparison to their wild counterparts. “They’re over-inflated and literally taste like nothing,” Solano says. “When you taste that mountain strawberry for the first time in your life, you’re blown away by the explosion of flavor.” Berries are certainly among the most soughtafter edibles that grow in Colorado — one almost all foragers, their tongues berry-stained before they leave the fields, admit never make it home. Other local edible plants include greens like watercress, lamb’s quarters and purslane; herbs such as wild mint and parsley; and the dandelion, whose parts have multiple uses. Such finds are nutritious and delicious bonuses for
many foragers, though. During the prime season of July and August, the target is usually mushrooms, in Boulder County and nearby, notably the puffball, hawk’s wing, chanterelle, morel and porcini varieties. If you’ve ever eaten one of the latter three, you know those are flavorful, indemand mushrooms. What you might not know is that you have a forager rather than a farmer to thank. All three are part of a group of mushrooms so symbiotically connected to the forest that they cannot be cultivated. Every such mushroom that’s passed your lips was born wild. “No one can reproduce a porcini,” says chef Kyle Mendenhall, who has led the kitchens of many notable Boulder restaurants before becoming culinary guidance counselor at the Big Red F Restaurant Group. “I love the simple
fact that no one has to put energy into producing these things. They just happen as part of the cycle of nature. Well, that, and the simple fact that they’re the most amazing flavor you can get.” Mendenhall has been a forager since shortly after he moved to Boulder to study music, his first career. A local violinist and family friend introduced him to the practice. Solano, on the other hand, grew up harvesting prickly pears with the Native American side of his family, but didn’t truly connect wild foods to his work as a chef until adulthood, when he was working at an upscale steakhouse in Florida. “A chef walked over and set a whole box of morels on the prep table to clean,” Solano says. When Solano asked where the delivery had come from, the chef said his buddy foraged them. “This was a four-star
restaurant, internationally known, where celebrities eat on a daily basis, and I’m thinking, ‘Wow, that’s cool. You’re bringing foraged food here. We sell caviar, we have a live lobster tank, and you’re bringing foraged foods here.’ There were easily 40 pounds.” Some folks hear that story and wonder if the buddy was paid. He was. Though figures are impossible to verify — the polite caginess of the community again — fresh morels can be sold for $50-$60 per pound. Matsutakes, the rarest, can sell for $100 per pound, making wild mushrooms big business. An entire informal economy of mushrooms operates mostly out of the public’s awareness. Other folks hear that story and wonder how the restaurant could trust the mushrooms were morels. See FORAGING on PAGE 14 13
FORAGING from PAGE 13
LEAF VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT Winner - Best Vegetarian Friendly Winner - Best Gluten Free Menu Winner - Best Organic Restaurant
THE HUCKLEBERRY Winner - East County Restaurant
THE DUSHANBE TEAHOUSE
Winner - Best Teahouse Winner - Best Chai Winner - Best Place to Eat Outdoors Winner - Best Restaurant Ambiance Winner - Best Place for 1st Date
After all, “buddies” aren’t rated by the Better Business Bureau, and mushrooms can be dangerous. Once the idea is in the public’s awareness, foraging can easily be painted as an issue worthy of panic. Thankfully, there are some guidelines, as Mendenhall explains. “Strictly legally speaking, anything we receive that’s foraged must [come from] an individual in the world of mycology,” he says, referring to the study of fungi. “They are either a certified mycologist themselves or they have a letter that’s been written on their behalf by a certified mycologist. You also show two years worth of invoices and a few other things. That’s Colorado and Boulder County food code.” That documentation of skill includes which mushrooms the forager has successfully identified on multiple occasions. And that typical wink-wink non-answer is about all the detail you’ll get from most restaurant kitchens, who protect the identity of their suppliers. “Chefs will say they got them from a forager but they won’t say who,” Mencher says. “A lot of foragers do this specifically to make money, and if their identity or spots get out, they’ll eventually start losing their stock and then their job is gone.” Such individuals usually work in relatively small quantities, however. For instance, 40 pounds would last one day, perhaps two,
in a busy restaurant. Yet larger quantities exist, as evidenced by the fresh and dried wild mushrooms available at the grocery store. “There’s a handful of companies that deal in these specialty foods,” Mendenhall says, “and they sometimes have small, careful armies of people out in remote places who are gathering these items like morels, chanterelles and matsutake.” Such care and the rarity of the mushrooms themselves make such companies’ products expensive, meaning it takes an investment from a restaurant to offer fresh wild mushrooms on the menu. Perhaps toast to both forager and chef next time you order a plate of the porcini risotto or the wild-mushroom soup in respect for that extra effort. However, most foragers in Colorado hunt only for themselves, their family and friends, and are committed to safety when it comes to wild edibles. “Of all the hundreds and thousands of varieties of mushrooms out there, I only feed a handful to my children,” says Mendenhall. Those species are mushrooms he can identify with complete confidence and are tasty enough to be worth the effort. In fact, flavor might open the door to foraging, but the practice offers a host of other benefits. “It’s just as good when I don’t find anything,” admits Mendenhall. “[Foraging trips] have a lot to do with taking a break to collect my
HOMEADE ICE CREAM FROM SCRATCH USING LOCAL INGREDIENTS
big, serious warnings that cannot be ignored
ot all mushrooms are edible, and in fact, many are dangerous or even deadly. Before you pick or eat any plant: • Identify the edible. Use more than one source to name the plant or fungus and its edibility. Preferably, more than one person should agree on the identification. If flavor is a factor, make sure the food is not only edible but tasty enough to be worth the effort. • Bring it home. Unless you’re an expert or have documented success at identifying the exact species — and even if so — consuming edibles on the spot is careless and dangerous. Boulder County recommends contacting the Boulder Mycological Society (cmsweb.org) if you have questions about your mushrooms. • Build knowledge slowly. Rather than operating on the default setting that any flora could be edible, forage from a place of humility, building your identification skills from
zero species to one, then two. Empty hands are not a signal of failure but of respect for the wild. • Be vigilant. Colorado hiking and mountaineering always comes with risk, which can be countered by being aware of and prepared for weather, challenging terrain, wildlife of all sizes, and scrapes and bruises. • Leave no trace. Follow all the rules of the trail, including packing out your waste, but also disturb the environment as little as possible as you forage. Return the land to its original condition so the edibles can continue to flourish, and take only what you need. Consider taking only pictures. • Or don’t forage. If any of these cautions is beyond your skill or simply not your idea of a good time, choose not to forage and instead support restaurants and suppliers who work hard to responsibly supply these rare foods.
thoughts and realizing that life continues on despite my busy schedule. Things are growing and life is happening despite me and what’s happening in my own bubble.” Utilizing resources that are free to everyone can also be seen as a radical act of empowerment, if on a small scale. Solano, for instance, dreams of someday opening an indigenousinspired restaurant, saying, “I want to be able to promote wild foods and taking control of food yourself.” Wild mushrooms do seem to bring out wilder thinkers, people who like to zoom in close for a different
perspective both in the forest and in their lives. They cherish and protect their passion, and are often folks who don’t work a 9-to-5, who use foraging to de-stress or even as a form of meditation. The food draws us to the wilderness, and foraging can be a way to reconnect with either the self or something larger. “You’re just as much wildlife as anything else, after all,” says Solano. “We can’t, as humans, separate ourselves from that. We’re mammals, we evolved right here and ate these things as we were evolving. And they’re literally there for the taking.”
MILK AND EGGS ARE OUR CANVAS. INGREDIENTS ARE OUR PAINT.
Heifer and the Hen Artisan Creamery 5290 Arapahoe, Unit H, Boulder 720.328.3159 heiferandthehen.com Unique Flavors Including Dairy Free and Vegan Options
A vintage life GUSSIE WALTER TAKES A ONE-WOMAN, ANTI-SNOB APPROACH TO MAKING WINE SUSAN FRANCE
arianne “Gussie” Walter does not do sweet wines at Augustina’s Winery in Nederland. She has her reasons, but that doesn’t mean she’s one of those stuffy wine snobs. “If people ask me for a sweeter wine, I tell them to pick a wine of mine where they like the flavor profile and add some sugar,” Walter says. Customers almost always gasp. “It’s your wine. Make it taste the way you like it,” she replies. Whether you are sampling her Venus de Vino Rosé, Boulder Backpacking Wine or Wine Chick White, Walter doesn’t care about the shape of your
B Y 16
wine glass, either. “Go ahead and put my wine in a coffee cup. I use a stainless steel glass because I’ve broken so many wine glasses,” she says. The winemaker’s refreshing disregard for the conventions and pretensions of winemaking is obvious when you read her wine descriptions. Normally, wine bottle text refers to subtle nuances, terroir and precise details of the vineyard and barrels. Her description for Bottoms Up White notes that it “goes well with Thomas Hardy novels (if you read too much Hardy you will need some wine... or antidepressants). Also works with Richard Thompson tunes.”
J O H N
That’s the way Walter has approached winemaking since she bottled her first whites and reds in Boulder in 1997. “It’s just wine,” she says. “You should enjoy it, have it with food and friends. I’m not sure that the wine should be a topic of discussion at the dinner table. There’s more important stuff.” RAISING A TOAST TO SCIENCE Like many American-born winemakers of her generation, Walter’s first sip of wine was a gulp of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill. “I was 14, and we snuck over to someone’s house to drink it,” she
L E H N D O R F F
BOCO CIDER TAPROOM Born in Boulder
says. “It was sweet and sickening.” Thus began her lifetime affinity for dryer, but not bone-dry, wines. “The first good wine I tasted was probably in grad school,” she says. “I had mostly been drinking beer, and I finally tried wine. I thought: ‘I like the taste of this a lot better.’” She started discovering affordable, easy-sipping wines from all over the world. Walter is one of a coterie of former scientists, from physicists to nuclear engineers, who have opened breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries in Colorado. She attended the University of Miami, and studied geology at the University of Colorado before working in a United States Geological Survey lab for 11 years. “A lot of geologists I knew were homebrewers. They liked to drink,” she says. Walter started messing around with wine-making in 1989 and made a batch of “not very good” dandelion wine inspired by a famous Ray Bradbury novel. She started perfecting the process and sharing her wines with friends, who urged her to make it more than a hobby.
After resigning from the lab, she went to work for a winery in New Mexico, where she did testing and every other job required at a small operation. She says she learned a lot about the craft and one important lesson: “I hate picking grapes. It’s eight hours of back-breaking, hot work with biting insects. I have a lot of respect for the workers who harvest grapes.” MAKING WINES SHE CAN ‘MESS WITH’ In 1997, Walter opened Augustina’s Winery in a North Boulder warehouse intending to make wine her way: less alcohol heavy, less sweet and more affordable. It was the first winery in Boulder County and one of a handful of women-owned wineries in Colorado. “I like the chemistry. I do all the lab work, and I still do a detailed lab notebook. That way it’s easier to figure why something went wrong... or right,” Walter says. Making only 5,000 to 6,000 bottles a year, Walter uses Colorado grapes from a handful of growers in Palisade and Hotchkiss with See WALTER on PAGE 18
Hard Cider at its Best No sulfites added, unfiltered, natural bubbles & it’s FREE! [Gluten-Free]
732 Main St., Louisville, Co • meltingpot.com • 303.666.777 Reservations Recommended. 17
WALTER from PAGE 17
T R ADI T IONAL VI E T NAM ES E PHO HO US E
Hours: Mon - Sun 11am-9pm DINE IN - TAKE OUT boulderpho.eat24hour.com
FREE PARKING.WHILE YOU EAT 2855 28th Street, Boulder, Co 303-449-0350
one exception: A female farmer in Burlington on the eastern plains grows the Vignoles hybrid white grapes Walter uses in her popular Harvest Gold wine. Walter describes Harvest Gold wine as good for sipping while “dissecting relationships (your relationships, your friends’ relationships, and the love life of people you’ve never met).” She does not bottle wines with vintage dates and freely admits her signature wines might taste a little different from year to year. “It depends on the grapes that are available. I make table wines, which means that they can be from 7 to 14% alcohol. That way I can mess with it when I want but the labels stay the same,” Walter says. A STRICTLY ONE-WOMAN OPERATION When she says, “I made these wines,” Walter does not mean that she merely owns the company or that she is the winemaker. She does do those jobs, and everything else. She picks up the grapes at the vineyard, crushes them, stems them, bottles and labels the wine and cleans up... in addition to working in the tasting room. “Most of wine-making is cleaning,” Walter says with a sigh. Wine-making can involve working with large, heavy objects but Walter has designed workarounds and used smaller equipment that she can physically handle. “I have a lot of things on wheels so I can do it myself,” she says. She sometimes says she does it all because she doesn’t make enough to pay anyone, sometimes including herself. “I also walked dogs. I cleaned a lot of houses,
worked at a winery and a wine shop and for a caterer,” Walter says. However, her one-woman approach also arises from personal honesty. “I make a bad employee, and I’m not a great employer. I’m cranky. I’m just better suited to working on my own,” she says. That said, Walter notes she loves drinking the wine with people who stop by the winery. Her wines are only available there and at the Saturday Boulder Farmers Market. BRINGING THE WINERY TO THE MOUNTAINS By 2016, Walter decided to move the winery to the mountains, where she had lived for many years. Augustina’s Winery is now appropriately located near the building that houses Nederland’s remarkable Carousel of Happiness. “Nederland has a lot of fun stores and restaurants. I like the idea of there being surprises to be discovered in town,” she says. The kind of folks who stop in the tasting room aren’t typically looking for a fruity merlot, just a taste of the local wine. “The women seem to really get the names and the labels,” Walter says. There is a certain irony in her ultimate career path. Walter is the great, great, great, great niece of Carrie Nation, the legendary Prohibitionist who famously used a hatchet to attack saloons a century ago. Her targets even included an attempt to turn off the wine, beer and spirits in the mountain town of Cripple Creek. History notes that Nation’s raid was unsuccessful as residents defended their beverages. John Lehndorff writes the Nibbles column for Boulder Weekly and hosts Radio Nibbles on KGNU.
H A V E
T A S T E
Happy Hour 3:00pm-6:00pm
EVERYDAY $6 BBQ SLIDERS $6 FRIED PICKLES $8 CHOPPED BRISKET NACHOS $9 SMOKED WINGS $1 OFF ALL DRAFTS $3 TECATE, UTICA CLUB, 16OZ PBR $1 OFF FROZEN & ROCKS MARGARITAS $6 DEEP EDDY MULES $5 WELL DRINKS / $5 HOUSE WINES
VOTED BEST BBQ
Book your Party Food Today! Call John
720-630-1221 701 B Main St., Louisville, CO • 720-583-1789 • Catering call: 720-630-1221
ry these wines at Augustina’s Winery in Nederland or at the Saturday Boulder County Farmers Market in Boulder: Boulder Backpacking Wine: This is a dry Cabernet Franc red wine with blackberry/cherry flavors. It’s lighter if you carry it in a wine sack. Venus de Vino Rosé: Marechal Foch grapes make this a slightly darker, slightly sweeter rosé. Bredo’s Blue Diamond: Named after Nederland’s frozen dead guy, this substantial red made from St. Vincent’s grapes is recommended as a base for warm mulled wine with spices and citrus. WineChick Cherry: Dry semi-sweet wine made from organically grown Colorado Montmorency cherries (also the ideal pie cherries). This wine matches well with seasonal dinners involving roasted fare. Augustina’s Winery Open 1-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday 20 E. Lakeview Drive, Nederland; 303-520-4871 augustinaswinery.com
VOTED BOULDER’S BEST THAI 15 YEARS IN A ROW!
Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-4pm Dinner Mon-Fri 4-10pm Sat 12-10pm Sun 5-10pm
We Deliver! 1600 Broadway, Boulder • 303-447-0273 • khow-thai.com 19
How Boulder County became the epicenter of the natural food revolution
by Will Brendza MIKE MACKAY/BOBO’S OAT BARS
BOBO’S OAT BARS f you ask Beryl Stafford, the founder is but one of dozens and CEO of Bobo’s Oat Bars, what of large natural food makes Boulder County such a fertile brands that have launched in Boulder crescent for natural food and beverage County. businesses, she’ll tell you a story from the late 1960s. “Back then, Boulder was kind of a hotbed for hippies and natural foods,” she says. “But I also think that the university and the mountain culture has had a lot to do with the entrepreneurial spirit here.” That combination of factors created the perfect conditions to create the natural food and beverage business incubator and accelerator that Boulder County has become. Stafford says it all started with Mo Siegel and Steve
Demos (who started Celestial Seasonings and WhiteWave Foods, respectively) in the late ’60s and early ’70s. When those two Boulder businessmen started carving out this niche, they were unwittingly laying the foundation for decades of natural food and beverage compaMIKE MACKAY/BOBO’S OAT BARS
COURTESY ETHAN’S FUNCTIONAL SHOTS
ETHAN HIRSHBERG rmoved to Boulder County to launch his company, Ethan’s Functional Shots.
nies to come. “You can attribute a lot of the success of the natural food industry in Boulder to [Siegel and Demos] … I don’t think it had really been done anywhere else, yet,” Stafford says. “Nobody would eat tofu or drink herbal tea anywhere else in the country but Boulder.” Siegel and Demos set the stage for other companies to launch, grow and thrive: Wild Oats, Horizon Dairy, Chocolove, Boulder Canyon Authentic Foods, Justin’s Nut Butter and many others. The county’s passion for healthconscious food and drink fueled the growth of these businesses and the natural product scene at large. Then in 2005, the natural
product business accelerator Naturally Boulder showed up, and the momentum snowballed. Naturally Boulder helped foster the community of natural product entrepreneurs and established a culture of mentorship, Stafford says. Alex Hanifin, the president and board chair of Naturally Boulder and CEO/ founder of Alpine Start Foods, says that this is one of the greatest aspects of Boulder’s natural product scene. “I think it’s why I love Boulder and the food industry,” she says. “It’s not just about a job, it’s about a community. [My colleagues are] much more than just colleagues, they’re friends.” Hanifin has worked on all sides of Boulder County’s natural product scene. Her first job in the industry was with the Justin’s Nut Butter marketing team, then she was hired by Rudi’s Organic Bakery, then Celestial Seasonings (which was bought by the Haine Celestial Group) and then Boulder Brands (which was bought by Conagra Brands). After those acquisitions and so much experience in the industry, Hanifin decided it was her turn. In 2016, she started her own local natural food company: Alpine Start Foods. Her involvement with Naturally Boulder helped position her to get Alpine Start Foods off on the right foot. Naturally Boulder hosts networking events, where entrepreneurs can mingle and network with CEOs of already-successful companies, solicit advice and make connections. Alpine Start Foods similarly runs seminars and education events throughout the year, with
rotating topics from ensuring product safety to responsible and regenerative sourcing. “We’re just getting likeminded people together,” Hanifin says. Naturally Boulder works with over 50 different brands, they have 1,200 members, and they are expanding their operations beyond Boulder County and Colorado: they have launched Naturally Bay Area, Naturally Chicago, Naturally Austin and intend on launching a few others, too, says Hanifin. Naturally Boulder has played an important role in establishing Boulder as a “Silicon Valley” for natural food and beverage businesses — a reputation that has spread far and wide. So much so that some aspiring natural product entrepreneurs, like Ethan Hirshberg, CEO and founder of Ethan’s Functional Shots, actually moved to Boulder County specifically because of the startup community. These are natural product business migrants; enterprising pilgrims come to drink from the well that has sustained and elevated so many before them. Hirshberg was living in San Francisco working for Harmless Harvest coconut water, when he started tinkering with his own beverage product: an apple cider vinegar health shot. “I knew what I wanted this brand to become, and I just recognized that [Boulder County] was a great place to do it,” Hirshberg says. Adding, “Not a bad place to live either.” He showed up, armed only with a few boxes of apple cider vinegar shots, and plunged headlong into the See BRANDS on PAGE 22 21
COURTESY ETHAN’S FUNCTIONAL SHOTS
louisville’s great family indian restaurant
TAJ MAHAL III RESTAURANT WINE, BEER & FOOD
BRANDS from PAGE 21
ALL YOU CAN EAT LUNCH BUFFET... 7 DAYS A WEEK!
BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT
303-926-0999 1075 E. SOUTH BOULDER RD. • LOUISVILLE, CO
Two Fantastic Indian Food Choices!
FOOD, WINE & BEER
ALL YOU CAN EAT LUNCH BUFFET... 7 DAYS A WEEK!
303-442-0999 1800 BROADWAY ST. BOULDER, CO
boulder’s great family indian restaurant 22
natural food and beverage scene. He went from door to door, business to business, coffee shop to grocery store, gyms to gas stations, selling his functional shots just like Stafford started off selling her Bobo’s Oat Bars; like Koel Thomae starting selling the yogurt that became Noosa; and like Mo Siegel, started selling his homemade herbal teas so many decades ago, before Celestial Seasonings had graced a single grocery store shelf. Before Hirshberg knew it, Ethan’s Functional Shots was becoming something very real. Hirshberg was realizing his vision: he earned a few local contracts, leased some office space on Pearl Street with Bhakti Chai (another national brand that formed locally), and then he started hiring employees. “We’ve expanded to hire different retailers, we’re growing our online business, and we’re expanding products. It’s really been kind of like an all-out blitz of growth,” Hirshberg says. “The Boulder natural food and beverage scene has just been really receptive; a really welcoming, helpful community for us to grow this business.” Today, Ethan’s Shots are carried in all 50 states, in 3,000 different stores around the country.
“I’ve noticed, for whatever reason, people here just have a real sense of community and pride that Boulder is sort of like the industry leader,” Hirshberg says. People in the industry are generous with their time, he says, and often offer mentorship to younger, up-andcoming business leaders. It’s a perfect confluence of factors that has made Boulder County a flashpoint for these businesses: the inherent health-conscious mindset of the people, the entrepreneurial spirit of the town itself, natural product business accelerators like Naturally Boulder and the support and mentorship of the natural product community. It still takes drive, passion, tenacity and a lot of hard work. But, with some determination, there are few better places to grow a natural product business. “I always say you have to be the most humble, the most hungry, and work the hardest in the room,” Stafford from Bobo’s says. “You have to live and die and breathe this business if you want to make a success of it. Don’t listen to naysayers. Surround yourself with positive people and ask a lot of questions,” she advises, adding, thoughtfully, “And in a practical sense: Sell, sell, sell.”
LAFAYETTE’S LOCALLY OWNED, INDEPENDENT FISH HOUSE Grilled Wild Sockeye Salmon
] [ [ ] ] [ fresh, authentic, tasty japanese food
Winner of BEST SEAFOOD EAST COUNTY, 3 years running (it might be 4)
Beer, Wine & Margaritas available ORDER ONLINE AT: www.eatreelfish.com
AUTHENTIC JAPANESE CUISINE
LUNCH Tue-Fri, 11:30am – 2pm DINNER Sun, Tue-Thu 5pm–9pm Fri-Sat 5pm – 10pm. Closed Monday Follow us on instagram: Sushiyoshilouisville
Located at the SW corner of Arapahoe and 95th St. in Lafayette • 720-630-8053
“Never underestimate how much assistance, how much satisfaction, how much comfort, how much soul and transcendence there might be in a well-made taco and a cold bottle of beer.” ~ Tom Robbins HOW TO FIND US: Restaurants: Meadows on the Parkway Shopping Center / Foothills and Baseline, The Lounge at Boulder Theater 2032 14th St, Boulder (Serving an hour before and during all shows) Food Carts: Pearl Street Mall (Mon. – Fri., 11am – 3pm) Sanitas Brewery 3550 Frontier Ave. Unit A Boulder (Daily)
720.573.4194 • mcdevittacosupply.com 23
LEAF VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT, BEET STEAK ENTREE
does boulder county have a
signature dish? by matt cortina
hink hard and you can loosely associate almost any region, and many cities, with a type of cuisine or a specific dish. Nashville has hot chicken; Texas has brisket; New Orleans has étoufée, gumbo and Creole cuisine; New Haven has pizza; Chicago has Italian beef, hot dogs and deep dish. We could go on, but you get the point. So, the question begs: What food or cuisine typifies Boulder County? Of course, there’s no right answer, and so we asked the region’s top food minds for their thoughts. In fact, we contrived a scenario in which they’d have to select one dish, in the hopes the answers, together, would indicate some trends, at the very least: “You’ve been invited to represent Boulder County in a hypothetical World’s Fair. What one dish are you bringing that exemplifies Boulder County cuisine? There are no wrong answers, and you can be as detailed (or not) as you’d like. Send a recipe from your personal kitchen,
or bring a dish from a Chefs, restaurant local restaurant. Add on owners and foodies a local coffee, beer or share thoughts cocktail, or not. Bring only a locally grown car- on the food that rot, or serve a five-course makes our County’s meal. What, to you, says, dining scene unique ‘This is what Boulder County food tastes like,’ and why?” At a time when old, standby restaurants move out of Boulder into East County, two food halls open, the Rayback Collective and County streets welcome rotating food trucks, and food establishments go in and out of business, it’s hard, from the outside to tell guests, when they visit, what kind of food is big in Boulder County. The answers below, which range from specific dishes to extemporaneous contemplations, are a start.
OG OT H FP
KB ELL Y/
SNOO ZE / REB
P Steven Redzikowski M Executive Chef/Partner, OAK at fourteenth When I think of Boulder produce and farmers, I automatically think Red Wagon Farm. In my opinion, Red Wagon has the most consistent produce in Colorado. The look, taste and overall care that goes into their produce is second to none — when it comes to quality, everyone knows Wyatt and Amy are your people. Not only that, but I like to support our local growers and foragers whenever I can. If I had to come up with a dish that I believe epitomizes Boulder County cuisine and that showcases Red Wagon Farm in all its glory, it CE would be our Red Wagon Summer AN FR Squash 3 Ways, a dish that features AN tempura-fried squash blossom, oak-roasted zucchini, a squash and corn emulsion, finished with toasted pistachios.
Lenny Martinelli Executive Chef/Owner,Three Leaf Concepts We would bring the Sesame Beet Steak from our own Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant, a delicious dish of hoisin-glazed and sesame-dusted beets, with garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal veggies, a wasabi-cilantro vegan “cream” (non-dairy) and farm-grown microgreens. The Beet Steak exemplifies Boulder County because although vegetarian and vegan, it’s bursting with the flavor of the local harvest and offers a nutritious but delicious plate of creative, vegetable-forward cuisine. The beets are the highlight of the dish, and rather than serve some kind of fake meat, our chefs have cast the beets as the hero of this flavorful favorite. We’d serve this with a delightful
wine from our local Settembre Cellars, like their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, an earthy, single-vineyard, Coloradogrown Cab. Jon Schwartz Regional Chef, Snooze A fusion of free spirits, athletes, CEOs, students and environmentalists, Boulder County is not just a place with serene views and
unparalleled beauty. It’s a perfectly blended community of thoughtful people who have come together to create a culture that is big on work and even bigger on play. So, when asked what breakfast dish exemplifies the “taste” of Boulder? The Snooze Makin’ it Grain Bowl was No. 1 on the list. Makin’ it Grain is a perfect blend of three grains — farro, black rice and quinoa — sautéed with onions, wild mushrooms and seasoned balsamic. The dish is finished with thoughtful fresh ingredients like pickled Persian cucumbers, baby arugula, thin-sliced watermelon radish, cage-free eggs and avocado. Like Boulder County the ingredients combine to create a dish that is elegant and beautiful but beyond the beauty are layers of nutritious ingredients that create textures and flavors that will fuel your body for the coveted Boulder balance of work and play. Roy Benningfield Chef, SALT Bistro I would love to bring our famous organic power bowl from Salt Bistro. It represents so much about Boulder County and the food scene here. We love this dish for several reasons. First, it is all organic. It is also plant-based cuisine. There are many different colors and textures, so it is fun to eat and provides tons of vitamins and nutrients. Not only is it healthy for the body, but research suggests it is more beneficial for mental health than prescription drugs. The ingredients change with the seasons and mirror what our local farmers have growing during that time. We love to support our local businesses and organic farmers in the See SIGNATURE DISH on PAGE 26
SIGNATURE DISH from PAGE 25
Dakota Soifer Chef/Owner, Café Aion One of the things I love most about having Café Aion in Boulder is the amazing diversity of local produce and meats that are grown and raised here. It is really fun to be able to cook traditional Spanish dishes using local ingredients. At the Boulder Farmers Market, I can find amazing peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, lamb and grains to use in our Spanish- and Moroccan-inspired cuisine. Paella has become our signature dish at Café Aion. In addition to preparing paella nightly at the Café, every Saturday we set up our booth at the farmers’ market and prepare giant pans at the outdoor market. This is another wonderful way to find some synergy between an old-world cuisine we love and our more modern home here in Boulder. One of my favorite summer paellas features our housemade chorizo (from local pork) corn, peppers, tomatoes and tender kale, all grown here in Boulder County.
squash, bagna cauda vinaigrette and calendula — a local edible flower. Rong Pan and Qin Liu Owners, Ku Cha House of Tea One of our favorites is the autumn chai cookies we serve at Ku Cha. These cookies are infused with Ku Cha’s custom chai, and are perfect for nibbling across and through the winter. They’re made for apresski, or for a Thanksgiving dessert table, and ditto for Christmas. They’re just so versatile and satisfying.
H NT EE
area whenever possible. Many of these ingredients can be found at the farmers’ market. We make a vinaigrette and toss all the raw vegetables and fruits in it. The dressing is made with orange and ginger, providing a flavorful punch. Currently we toss the following ingredients: quinoa, chickpeas, pepitas, cauliflower, spinach, kale, strawberries, pineapple, cabbage, carrots, beets, avocado and whole parsley leaves. We garnish with polenta croutons to avoid gluten and dairy as well. I feel that this represents Boulder County well. We are a very health-conscious community, and as we learn more about the food in America, we want to avoid any potentially harmful foods.
E US HO
Hosea Rosenberg Chef/Owner, Blackbelly and Santo It would definitely be a dish centered around lamb. Colorado (and Boulder County) have some of the best in the world. We have amazing ranches here, and it is the best environment for lamb to thrive. I would serve a dish highlighting the many wonderful cuts of lamb, with local, seasonal produce. Right now we are serving our lamb with heirloom bean purée, roast summer
Chris Royster Executive Chef, Flagstaff House Boulder County is so much more multi-dimensional than just weed and beer. To understand Boulder’s cuisine, you have to start at the Boulder Farmers Market, primarily because it offers the opportunity to know where your food is coming from and allows me the invaluable chance to meet the farmers, purveyors and producers in our area, and I love knowing and seeing the land around Boulder and what it offers. That’s what inspires me, and what makes up Boulder County cuisine. First and foremost, residents want to know where their food comes from and the market is the best way to do that. Every farm offers something special. And not only so they grow the familiar but foods that are unique, different and outside the range of the normal varieties you find in a supermarket. And, not only do we have amazing farms, not many people know we have really outstanding opportunities to do some great wild foraging. My sous-chef, Ben Kramer, and I are often out foraging during the season, from mushroom hunting, to foraging for greens right around the City of Boulder, to finding wild apples and cherries all around Boulder County.
Tsehay Hailu Chef/Owner, Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant We would bring a dish of grilled chicken and cheese brats, Coloradogrown organic kale, red cabbage and chilies. It’s all grilled, then reduced in a local craft Cerebral Dark Galaxie stout. Daniel Asher Chef/Owner, River and Woods Boulder County is a very sacred space for agriculture and food system awareness. There are so many amazing people doing great work to heal our food system and to connect the threads of potential that together weave a fabric of community and trust. I feel like to explain a restaurant dish from River and Woods would simply be selfserving and not necessarily convey the beauty of actually spending time here. So I would want to just introduce some great folks and hopefully their ideas and vision can inspire a visit to a farm or support of an important food related event. Michael Brownlee and Lynette Marie, who run the Center for Co-Creation and Local Food Shift. Woody Tasch, founder/ author of Slow Money and SOIL. Bobby Gill and
TSE HA Y
coffee – breakfast – lunch – tapas – dinner
SAN FRANCE / SU
Daniela Howell of the Savory Institute (regenerative agriculture and holistic land management) with headquarters in Boulder. Eric and Jill Skokan, who own Black Cat Farm, Bramble & Hare, Black Cat restaurant, run a farmers’ market booth, are part of the Grain Chain Heritage Grain milling project, and somehow still manage to smile and share knowledge in the midst of all the beautiful chaos. Rich Pecoraro of Abondanza Farm and the Masa Seed Foundation (tortillas and seeds). Philip Taylor, Mad Agriculture founder, who is leading a quiet revolution towards smarter systems for our local food communities. And Brian Coppom, Boulder Valley Farmers Market director, and Sarah Brito, the Good Food 100 founder. Connecting with any of these people will inevitably lead to a dish that represents what Boulder County tastes like. It tastes like dreams and dirt and sunshine and hope; like optimism and thoughtfulness, moonlight and mulch, rainfall and stillness. It tastes like kindness and laughter and compost and fresh snow. Boulder County food is nourishment in its most authentic form.
Executive Chef: Miguel Vazquez
5530 spine rd, boulder • 303.719.1431 aperitivoboulder.com
SEASONAL AMERICAN CUISINE AWARD-WINNING WINE CELLAR ON-SITE HERB & PRODUCE GARDEN WEDDINGS & EVENTS
Dinner TUES-SUN 5:30 - 9:30pm
Patio & Bar Menu TUE-SUN 5pm+
Happy Hour TUE-SUN 5-7pm
Champagne Brunch SUN 10am-1pm
b o u l d e r b a k e d i s a fa m i ly o w n e d b u s i n e s s f o o d m a d e f r o m s c r at c h w i t h n at u r a l i n g r e d i e n t s d e l i v e ry , c a r ry - o u t o r d i n e - i n ava i l a b l e
Serving Boulder’s Finest For 50 Years h o u r s : t u e s d ay - s u n d ay :
Local & organic•Exceptional private party rooms•Infamous happy hour
c l o s e d m o n d ay
1 9 1 1 b r o a d w ay , b o u l d e r , c o 3 0 3 . 4 4 4 . 4999 • b o u l d e r b a k e d . c o m
3295 30th Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301•303.443.9505
We want to thank you for voting us:
Best Mexican Restaurant Best Burrito Best Margarita Best East County Restaurant
303.666.7544 • 101 E. Cleveland, Lafayette Also Visit Us at Senior Gomez • 502 South Public Road, Lafayette
The way we
Old recipes prove Boulder County pioneers had pretty sophisticated palates
by John Lehndorff
vocado-topped ahi quinoa power bowls were not on the menu if you went out to dinner in Boulder 160 years ago. It would be four more years until the first eatery opened. But it’s not like the white folks who settled in what was called Boulder City were eating twigs and berries. Yes, Boulder County’s culinary offerings have come a long way, but looking back provides a chance to see what the first European-descendant settlers in the area ate. Surprisingly, or maybe not, some things never changed. In 1859, nearly 200 men and 17 women were in attendance at a Christmas dance held in the only cabin in Boulder that had a wooden floor, according to Phyllis Smith in ‘A Look at Boulder from Settlement to City.’ Dinner was a Paleo-friendly menu of black-tailed deer, rabbit and fish, which was a pleasant change from the usual parched corn. For that event, coffee was served “from washtubs,” but that doesn’t mean that beer wasn’t involved in early Boulder. The nearby town of Sunshine was formed in part because miners heard rumors that a plot of land had been traded for a keg of beer, which was not legal. An account from 1859 in ‘Frontier Boulder’ by Dick Fetter notes: “We had no doubt that a lot had been sold for a keg of beer, but the beer was drunk, and drunk or sober the title was just as good as if the consideration had been money.” In 1863, Daniel and Mathilda Pound opened the two-story Colorado House hotel near Pearl and 13th streets, the likely site of Boulder’s first dining establishment. Thus, it was also the probable location of Boulder’s first customer complaint about the size of the entrees. While Yelp and Twitter were still a few decades off, the local press included ads for local shops that show that Boulderites were eating fairly high on the hog. That was true at least for locals who could afford to
shop at Tourtellot & Squires, the Alfalfa’s Market of its time. The Oct. 12, 1869 Boulder County News included an ad for the shop offering: “Bacon and ham: 30 cents a pound; oysters, 40 cents; eggs, 50 cents a dozen; butter, 40 cents a roll; trout 22 cents a pound. Porterhouse and sirloin steaks, 16 cents a pound.” Fresh produce was already being grown locally, including such luxuries as asparagus, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Boulder would start to get a reputation for growing dozens of varieties of apples. By 1876, restaurants were still a rarity so church suppers filled the void for working people who wanted a night off. In the first recorded example of someone abusing an all-you-can-eat buffet in Boulder County, the Colorado Banner for Dec. 28, 1876 shared this note from an attendee at a Methodist Church dinner: “I had my money’s worth. I ate $2.50 worth of supper for 25 cents. I ate two chickens, one ham, one mince pie, three dishes of pickles, a three-pound cake and drank six cups of coffee.” No word whether there were complaints from the people in line behind this guy. One of Boulder’s early cookbook pamphlets was ‘Recipes from King’s Daughters of Grace Church’ in Denver 1892 and sold at Fonda’s Pharmacy in Boulder. Recipes ranged from the fairly exotic Mulligatawny Soup (an Anglo-Indian creation) to doughnuts. Like similar books, this one included helpful medical hints such as: “Bite of serpent: Apply fire in some form, followed by whiskey to intoxication.” The collection’s Chicken Salad No. 2 recipe starts with these measurement-free instructions: “Boil until quite tender a full grown chicken; remove all the skin and fat and put the meat into a wooden bowl and chop fine; then chop as much celery as you have chicken.” It assumed a lot. One cookbook reminds us that Boulder’s reputation as the epicenter of the American natural foods
See COOKBOOKS on PAGE 32
Y A flurry
ou may think you know Dot’s Diner. You go for a big, delicious, no-nonsense breakfast, delivered in busy environs, where the coffee and chai are always hot. But unless you’re a regular, you may be surprised to find a full menu of Nepali food on the menu of what some might mistake as a bacon-and-eggsonly joint. The story of Dot’s — now in its fifth decade — and how it wove Nepali food into its menu is rooted in a confluence of three Boulder institutions: Nancy’s, Dot’s Diner and Mother’s Cafe. Dot was Nancy’s mom, and they each had their own restaurant, while Mother’s had the killer green chile. The line of obscure, regional Nepalese curries came later. The renaissance of what had become a breakfast backwater began in the mid-1980s, when a young dishwasher at Nancy’s named Peter Underhill began working his way further into the kitchen. After seven years, Underhill had become an integral piece of the Nancy’s machine, and cooked for the likes of Robert Redford, James Taylor and his personal favorite, Timothy Leary. Then came an opportunity to work at Dot’s,
of curry by Ari Le Vaux How Nepalese cuisine quietly took hold in Dot’s Diner
THE NEPALI MENU at dot’s include chana masala, saag tofu, baigun bharta and aloo palak, an original recipe featuring curried potatoes and spinach.
which was languishing at the time, with the understanding that if Underhill could figure out how to make Dot’s profitable, he’d buy it from Nancy. “Nancy’s was this big deal, and Dot’s was just a hole in the wall,” Underhill says. “I had learned to cook at Nancy’s, and when I went to Dot’s to cook, I was better than the cooks there. They were just slapping things on plates. The quality went up immediately, because of what I learned from Nancy’s.” He brought more than experience. He had the recipes from Nancy’s, which has since closed. “Nancy’s hollandaise sauce was one of the big things she was known for. Now we have the best hollandaise in town.” He also kept Nancy’s biscuit recipe for drop biscuits: golden carb-nuggets with steaming insides riddled with pockets of liquid fat — a biscuit so extraordinary and renowned that Bon Appetit came calling for the secret. Then, Underhill bought Mother’s Café, on the hill, in part for its green chile
recipe, he says. Then came the old man from Nepal. “In 2000, someone had an uncle that needed a job,” Underhill recounts. The Gurung ethnic group, in central Nepal, numbers less than 300,000. This man couldn’t speak Nepali, the Indo-European official language of Nepal, only Gurung, which is closer to Tibetan. But the man could wash dishes. “Just a fantastic worker,” Underhill says. “Then he had a friend, another old Gurung, who also wanted to wash dishes. [So] I got a trained Gurung cook, a decorated, talented chef who was tired of making
Indian food, because most Nepali chefs end up working in Indian restaurants, and he just wanted to make breakfast.” This cook, Peu Gurung, would make lunch for the Nepali staff. “Those old men didn’t want bacon or eggs or omelets,” Underhill says. And the fragrance of the Gurung curries they made instead wafted into the dining room. “People could smell it from the restaurant and they wanted it,” Underhill says. “Peu offered to make it, so we put it on the menu.” The curries come with rice, dal, jalapeno chutney
and flatbread. Chicken curry and saag tofu are the two most popular dishes these days, Underhill says. “People will sometimes order them mixed to make chicken saag.” After eight years, Peu got his citizenship, and then he and his wife bought Dot’s on the Hill, in the space once occupied by Mother’s Café. Underhill, meanwhile, runs the show at the 28th Street location. It seems fitting that the Nepalese have found such a hospitable welcome in the mountains of Colorado. And perhaps that cuisine, like a good green chile, is at its best in the thin air of the high country. But one thing is clear: At a time when many venerable Boulder establishments are going under, Underhill has kept Dot’s afloat by recognizing a good thing when he sees it, and his line of curries is no exception. It has become woven into the braids of Dot’s evolving menu. “It’s gotten to the point where I can’t take curry off the menu,” Underhill says. “I’d lose business.”
COOKBOOKS from PAGE 29 movement did not start with long-haired hippies collecting herbs for tea in the foothills in the mid-1970s. Published by the Woman’s Relief Corps of the Grand Army of the Republic in Boulder in the late 1800s, ‘The Nathaniel Lyon Cook Book’ features the usual recipes for Lady Cake, Indian Pudding and Whipped Cream. The roster of these early Boulder-branded natural food products includes many that would be right at home on kitchen counters in Table Mesa: “Graham Crackers. Toasted Wheat Crackers. Granola. Oatmeal Wafers. Almond Butter.” We’re not so sure about the Nuttolene and Granose Flakes. By the early 1900s things were getting fancy at Boulder tables based on the recipes in ‘Dainty Dishes and How to Serve Them’ by the Ladies’ Aid Society of First Baptist Church. Recipes in the tea sandwich category included one for Marshmallow Sandwiches that may be the culinary ancestor of both the FlufferNutter and s’mores. A list of etiquette notes included: “The lips should be closed during mastication.” It’s still good advice. The cookbook’s introduction includes a lament not uncommon in these collections, which were generally meant to only be read by women: “Ask a woman what cooking means. It means the endurance, the long suffering and martyrdom of Joan of Arc. … It means perspiration and desperation and resignation. … Then she must rise above it all and be a lady.” However, there was a glimmer of hope. ‘Dainty Dishes and How to Serve Them’ included an ad from Western Light and Power proclaiming: “Let Electrical Servants Do Your Housework.” The “staff” for sale included electric toasters, grills, percolators and waffle irons.
Historic Boulder snack recipes
FRESH, HONEST & INSPIRED FOOD, EVERY TIME. BOULDERADO.COM | 303.442.4344 2115 13TH STREET | BOULDER, CO 80302 32
aratoga Fried Potatoes: “Cut in thin slices, put them in cold water over night with a small piece of alum to make them crisp. Rinse in cold water and dry with a crash towel; fry light brown in hot lard.” — From ‘Recipes from King’s Daughters of Grace Church.’ Marshmallow Sandwiches: “Take small size crackers, spread with peanut butter, put marshmallow on top, brown in oven.” — From ‘Dainty Dishes and How to Serve Them’ by the Ladies’ Aid Society, First Baptist Church, Boulder Beef Tea with Hydrochloric Acid: “Chop fine half pound sirloin steak. Put one drop hydrochloric acid into a cup of cold water, add to chopped meat, set in the refrigerator for two hours to digest. Strain, season with salt. Serve in a red wine glass.” — From ‘The Boulder Cook Book’ with recipes by Mrs. F. W. Leland Cooked with Boulder Natural Gas (late 1800s)
very year, Boulder Weekly readers cast thousands of votes for their favorite restaurants, breweries, coffeehouses and other food establishments throughout Boulder County. We publish the results in our Best of Boulder issue in early spring, which you can still access at boulderweekly.com. As a quick reference, we included the most recent list of winners in this edition of Feast so you can see what our readers have to say about where you should eat, sip, glug and sample.
American Restaurant Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries Appetizers/Tapas The Mediterranean Restaurant Asian Fusion Chez Thuy Vietnamese Restaurant Bagel Moe’s Broadway Bagel Bakery Moxie Bread Co. Bar Rayback Collective Barbecue KT’s BBQ Beer Selection/ Restaurant Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries Breakfast/Brunch Lucile’s Creole Cafe Burger Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries Burrito Illegal Pete’s Business Lunch The Mediterranean
Restaurant Catering A Spice of Life Catering + Events Cidery Acreage Ciderhouse by Stem Cider Chai Bhakti Chai Chinese Zoe Ma Ma Chocolatier Piece, Love & Chocolate Cocktail The Bitter Bar Coffee House OZO Coffee Company Coffee Roaster OZO Coffee Company Craft Brewery Avery Brewing Company Cup of Coffee OZO Coffee Company Dessert Flagstaff House Restaurant
Japanese Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar Juice/Smoothie Wonder Press Kid-Friendly Restaurant Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries
Distillery Spirit Hound
Late Night Restaurant Illegal Pete’s
Distillers East County Restaurant The Post Brewing Co.
Latte/Mocha OZO Coffee Company
Fine Dining Flagstaff House Restaurant
Lyons Restaurant Oskar Blues Grill & Brew
Pizzeria Pizzeria Locale Place to Eat Outdoors Rayback Collective Place to Go on a First Date Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse Restaurant Ambiance Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse Restaurant Service Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries Sandwich Snarf’s Sandwiches
Margarita Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
Seafood Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar
Food on the Hill The Sink
Mexican Efrain’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Sushi Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar
Food Truck McDevitt Taco Supply
Nederland Restaurant Kathmandu Restaurant
Frozen Yogurt Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato
New Restaurant Flower Child
Take-out Snarf’s Sandwiches
Organic Restaurant Fresh Thymes Eatery
Teahouse Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
Food Delivery Snarf’s Sandwiches
Gluten-Free Menu Fresh Thymes Eatery Happy Hour The Mediterranean Restaurant Ice Cream Sweet Cow Ice Cream Indian Sherpa’s Adventurers Restaurant & Bar Italian Carelli’s of Boulder
Overall Restaurant The Mediterranean Restaurant Pancake/Waffle Snooze: An A.M. Eatery Pho Chez Thuy Vietnamese Restaurant Pizza Slice Cosmo’s Pizza
Thai Aloy Thai Cuisine Vegetarian-Friendly Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant Veggie Burger Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries Wine Selection Frasca Food and Wine 33